Electrical Circuits and Breakers

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  #1  
Old 11-28-05, 12:32 PM
kdressman
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Question Electrical Circuits and Breakers

I own a 20yr old house that I recently purchased. I have noticed that certain outlets and lights on the first floor require me to turn off two breakers to cut the power to them. They otherwise appear to work fine. What could be the cause and/or repair for this? Does this indicate a more serious problem or an iminent hazard?

Thanks!

Kevin
 
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  #2  
Old 11-28-05, 12:39 PM
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First please clarify exactly what you mean.

Do you mean that half a duplex receptacle is on one breaker and the other half of a duplex receptacle is on another breaker (not necessarily a problem), or do you mean that a single receptacle gets power from two different breakers?

What type of lights are you talking about?


When did this start happening? Has it been happening all along? Was it behaving this way when you mapped out the electrical system to identify breakers and circuits?
 
  #3  
Old 11-28-05, 01:34 PM
kdressman
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Thanks for helping me with this problem...

Q. Do you mean that half a duplex receptacle is on one breaker and the other half of a duplex receptacle is on another breaker (not necessarily a problem), or do you mean that a single receptacle gets power from two different breakers?

A. It appears that one of the circuits (and all of the devises on that circuit) on the panel is controlled by two breakers - shutting off one won't cut the power.

Q. What type of lights are you talking about?

A. Basic residential lighting - overhead kitchen lighting, etc.

Q. When did this start happening? Has it been happening all along? Was it behaving this way when you mapped out the electrical system to identify breakers and circuits?

A. I bought the house in Feb and the previous owners (my wife's aunt/uncle) confirmed that it's been that way for some time. Nothing has changed since I bought the house.

Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 11-28-05, 01:55 PM
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Yes, this indicates a serious problem that needs to be corrected ASAP. I suggest that you turn off both breakers until you locate and resolve the problem.

Turning off the breakers will ensure that you don't have a fire and it will force you to fix the problem, since you obviously won;t want to continue this way.

Since the previous owners acknowledge the problem, I suggest that you get them to pay for an electrician to find and fix the problem. Clearly this qualifies as a known electrical problem. You will want to call your lawyer for this, since the previous owner is not likely to pony up the money without some prodding.

In the event that they did disclose the problem and you (for whatever reason) ignored it, then you will have to find and fix the problem. If you have to go this route we can certainly help. Start by supplying a list of EVERYTHING that is on both breakers. You should, of course, already know this from your mapping of the electrical system, so you should be able to look at your circuit chart and supply this information.
 
  #5  
Old 11-28-05, 03:10 PM
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Sounds to me like the classic case where someone wired switch controlled top half duplex outlets on two individual circuits and forgot to snap off the jumpers onthe sides of the outlets. I have run into this before. Quite a vexxing problem until you have one of these under you belt, so to speak.

If you think about it - if you are lucky enough that someone didn't create a 220 situation, then if one duplex outlet were interconnected on two circuit breakers, obviously shutting off one circuit breaker would not kill the power (just like what poster is saying.). But, if you sever the jumpers on the outlet, then that isolates the two circuits.

I can't say that is what HIS problem is for sure - but that is where I would start. Especially if one of those circuits or the two of them happen to be for the living room.
 
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